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  1. #1
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    gruesome murders and zombies?

    Violent Vidio Games Fall Onto Kids' Hands

    (from the wall street journal online)

    BRAINTREE, Mass. (Dec. 17) - Janet Mason recently stepped up to the cash register at a KB Toys store here to purchase a videogame that her 11-year-old had been hounding her for.

    "Are you sure you want this?" she recalls the cashier asking her. The game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, is rated "M" for its mature content, meaning it is considered suitable only for those 17 years and older under the game industry's ranking system.

    But with her son Jackson tugging at her sleeve, Ms. Mason says she had little choice but to buy the $50 game, which centers on an ex-con trying to re-establish himself as a cocaine dealer by driving around town knocking off the rivals of his crime boss, picking up prostitutes and gunning down whoever steps in the way, including pedestrians.

    "They see this kind of stuff on television anyway," Ms. Mason says. "Besides, it's Christmas."

    Led by Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. -- both of which have set their marketing sights on teenagers and older players -- the videogame business, like the movie industry, is focusing on adult-oriented entertainment. The fact that games like Vice City are so popular is putting a lot of pressure on parents of younger children who are clamoring for them. "We're actually seeing a lot of mothers coming in with their kids and buying the game for them," says Michael Glazer, chief executive of closely held KB, a 1,400-store chain based in Pittsfield, Mass.

    The retailer checks for IDs among its younger buyers to adhere to the game industry's self-policed, voluntary rating system. "But the mothers just say, 'That's OK. I'm getting it for them,'*" Mr. Glazer says.

    From all appearances, Vice City, which features wild car chases, gun battles and a continuous stream of new adventures, is the industry's runaway hit of the season. Introduced last month, the game is made by Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. of New York, a game developer, for Sony's PlayStation 2 system. It is expected to end up as the year's top videogame, with four million units sold this holiday season -- a blockbuster in an industry where a million in annual sales is considered a major hit.

    Other games with dark and adult-oriented themes are also expected to rank among this season's best sellers. Among them: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, a game about terrorists that plays on Microsoft's Xbox. In addition to Vice City, PlayStation 2 hits include 007: Nightfire, a sexy James Bond thriller; Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, a martial-arts extravaganza featuring lots of decapitation; WWE Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth, an animated version of prime-time wrestling; and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

    It's quite a shift in an industry that rose to prominence on the shoulders of a happy acrobat named Super Mario, a hedgehog named Sonic and other youth-oriented characters. Even among titles made for Nintendo Ltd. -- Mario's creator -- the hottest-selling game is Metroid Prime, a shoot-'em-up production featuring sinister aliens that plays on the company's new GameCube system.

    The trend prompted Zany Brainy, a toy retailer that caters to children age 10 and younger, to announce last month that it would no longer sell videogames. The company, which has 170 stores, cited a lack of "wholesome quality products" for younger children. The chain had been selling only E-rated games deemed suitable for everyone, but it said few such offerings were being developed. Zany's parent, FAO Inc., continues to sell videogames at its eight FAO Schwarz stores, whose target customers include older children.

    Thanks to the older buyers and indulgent parents of the younger set, Santa is expected to be good to the industry this year. Videogames and consoles could bring in more than $10 billion in sales, up 10% from a year ago, analysts say. Games alone will account for $7.3 billion of that, up 22%, estimates Stewart Halpern, an RBC Dain Rauscher Inc. analyst.

    A new plateful of kiddie offerings has also been turning in respectable sales, though not in the same league as the edgier stuff. Games aimed at children include Kingdom Hearts, a production that features Donald Duck, Goofy, Aladdin and others in the Disney fold; and Sly Cooper and the Thievious Racoonus, a PlayStation 2 game about a pilfering raccoon. A number of sports-oriented games, such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 and Madden NFL 2003, which is updated every year to reflect roster changes, also number among this season's standouts.

    Nintendo's Mario Sunshine, which came out earlier this year, failed to produce the type of excitement for Nintendo's new GameCube system that was generated six years ago by Super Mario 64 when the company rolled out its Nintendo 64 system. Although the game is expected to crack the million-unit mark in sales this year, "it kind of got crowded out by a lot of competition," says Perrin Kaplin, Nintendo's U.S. marketing vice president.

    Younger-oriented games are doing better in the hand-held sector dominated by Nintendo's Game Boy devices. Some of the hottest titles this Christmas for those systems: Harry Potter, The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing, a game with a feature that allows parents to leave messages for their kids.

    But overall, the trend toward older-age games is expected to continue, analysts say. Although videogames were once dominated by those 14 and under, today 55% of gamers are 18 and older, according to the Interactive Digital Software Association, an industry group.

    The changing demographics have prompted Nintendo's move to racier, more violent fare, such as Resident Evil (gruesome murders and zombies) and Eternal Darkness (bleeding walls and medieval gore). It is spending $140 million for holiday promotions, many of them aimed at the teen and young-adult market. More games targeted at older players are scheduled to be released for Nintendo's GameCube system.

    Copyright © 2002 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    ***************************************

    Think it can only happen in Hondoruas?
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

  2. #2
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    Think it can only happen in Hondoruas?
    In Honduras, removing violent/mature games was a very short-sighted solution. The problem with rising violence amongst youths in that country needs far more work, and a more comprehensive solution, than simply removing violent games.

    The video games industry generated 9.4 billion dollars in revenue in the US in 2001. While kids stores may voluntarily remove violent games due to their unwholesome nature, it seems doubtful that retailers in general will be forced to remove mature games from their shelves.

  3. #3
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    Tedob1,

    Really good article!!! I think it's cool some enterprises focus themselves in releasing games targeted as "older players" because i like them so much, more if they are released for PC, hehe!!!, and although kids have a very large percentage of the games' sales market, i think kids play but (almost everytime) without knowing nothing about the game they're playing (only if game's are really for kids like Mario Bros.). What i mean is that if the game's about killing they kill everything, if it's about racing they run, etc. (i mean small kids), so we (the older ones) really enjoy the games because we really "go inside" these games and read carefully what to do, where to go, whom to kill, etc. So IMHO the enterprises should focus more in "older players" to get better results. Just an example, i don't think a kid could reach the end of "The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers" game but "older players" could be playing months until they reach the end of the game, kids play a couple of days and leave the game behind.

    That's all, bye.

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    Honestly I think they should make them harder. Most of the younger peaple I've seen say that the more child based games are 2 ez and I have to agree. Even some of the more violent games are getting really lame. When I played hitman2 and max payne I was very disappointed in how easy these games were. If they make them nice and hard for both younger & older kids then both action and child based games will be more fun.

    I know guys who can play alot of really good games but can't reach the 3rd level in pac-man Its hard to beleave that years ago someone sold games involving a yellow thing that runs around and eats pills and peaple would play games like this for days yet now when you buy a game it only last for about a few hours sometimes just a few minutes intil you beat it and then buy "yet another" kill or be killed type game.

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    tell me PT do you think the industry would not produce 9.4 billion dollars in revenue if its games were not violent.

    maybe if violent games were just "cut-off" their would be a drop in sales for a while. but when its the only game in town, as it were, it would pick right back up after the initial outrage passed. Vidio games are the "coolest" thing that ever happened, with or without violence.

    im not saying this is good or bad because i really don't care either way. i don't think games cause brain damage but then again i don't really care to play games, they don't hold my interest. i just thought the good people at ao who weren't aware should be made aware that there is a trend headed in that direction. That is: to ban violent vidio games and its picking up steam. They can speak out against it to the people that need to hear, or they can say it will never happen and ignore it or just go with the flow. Maybe more would like to see this happen than not.

    this just may be a very short sighted solution but look at the people in power! Bush would be the toast of his "moral majority" party if this happened.
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

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    maybe if violent games were just "cut-off" their would be a drop in sales for a while. but when its the only game in town, as it were, it would pick right back up after the initial outrage passed. Vidio games are the "coolest" thing that ever happened, with or without violence.
    Didn't actually think of that. I still think there would be some sort of drop in revenue since so many games are mature/violent, but maybe it would have less of an impact than people think it would now. Good point

    this just may be a very short sighted solution but look at the people in power! Bush would be the toast of his "moral majority" party if this happened.
    hmm... and judging by some of the laws/powers being passed and granted of late, it probably wouldn't be very difficult for him to remove violent games from shelves. Although I still think it's unlikely, it's definitely possible.

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